The media is already crediting Hell on Wheels with helping to revive the Western, claiming that it “leads TV’s wild for Western trend” (Deadline Hollywood). This isn’t the first time AMC has re-energized the genre either. The award-winning Western miniseries Broken Trail (2006) was also a massive success for the network.
While Hell on Wheels is inspired in part by Sergio Leone’s 1960s Spaghetti Westerns, creators Tony and Joe Gayton also credit their influences to contemporary films like Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood. Tony Remembers watching a PBS American Experience documentary that mentions the real Hell on Wheels, saying, “I thought it was the perfect place to modernize the western.” Consider the list of influential Westerns below your pre-premiere Netflix recommendation. Already seen these movies? Let us know which one is your favorite.